You are reading a post by brett from 2005-06-24 12:23:10
We've had a 17 mile day, a 0 mile day, and days of all sizes in between. As we go on, we may smooth out some kinks and streamline our pace. Or maybe not.
Katahdin was amazing. We went against the rangers' advice and climbed the mountain with our full, 40+ pound packs. We would come to be known as "Those two idiots who climbed Katahdin with full packs". The two open trails that day were Abol and Hunt. For variety's sake, we went up Abol, since we wanted to decend Hunt, which is the beginning of the AT. Abol is a steep trail. We were climbing huge boulders. Towards the top, visibility was a few yards, and we lost the trail a few times. In search of the trail, I went off to the left a bit and found not the trail, but the open face of an unrelenting mountain, shivering in the high wind. I'm really glad that wasn't the trail, cause that was nasty. We climbed Katahdin and lunched atop the summit. Along the way we met Ron and Ara, Grant, and Natalie - all thruhikers like us.
Coming down Katahdin was barely easier than going up. We were tested that day and I'm still not sure if we passed, but we're alive! It was a long descent back to the campsite, and we took until just before sundown to do it.
The next few days were rainy. It kept the bugs at bay but also dampened our spirits slightly. Hiking was still fun, just sort of... clouded. We hiked and camped in the rain. Most mornings the rain was light if it was there at all. But by the afternoon, it had picked up again.
One day I had outhiked Shian to the campsite by a few minutes. It was raining and it was the end of a longish day. I set up my tent, threw wome stuff inside, and waited a few minutes for Shian to come in. He didn't. I figured he may just be hiking a little slower than normal, and I went back along the trail to find him. I left all my things at the campsite. I walked for about 15 minutes back the way we had come, and didn't find him. I was starting to get worried. Visions of Shian lost in the rainy, darkening woods flashed through my mind. I had hiked about 3/4 of a mile to find him, and we had only split up a mile or so from camp. Now I started to worry about myself too - I was walking away from camp, away from all my gear, with no food/water/shelter at all. I decided to head back to camp and hope that somehow Shian and I had crossed paths and he would be there setting up. He wasn't.
Now it had been almost 30 minutes since we split up, and he should absolutely have been there by now. I put together an emergency rescue pack - food, water, first aid kit, an extra shirt, and my kitchen set. Throwing this lightweight, purely survival oriented pack on my back, I turned towards the trail and there was Shian.
"Where the %@#$!^ were you?" I said. He had outhiked the campsite by a mile, and when he realized it, he came back. Meanwhile, I was just glad he wasn't dead. Really glad.
More days went by and we have met some great people. Ron and Ara have been great company. It turns out they are huge Firefly fans. They were incredulous when we said we had already seen the movie, since it's not really out yet. Shian had the awesome idea of giving them trailnames - Ara became Inara, and Ron became Book (played by Ron Glass). They loved the names and adopted them. What an incredible feeling to connect with strangers over a fairly obscure, canceled television series while we are out in the midst of the 100 mile wilderness.
The Johns are great. Grizzly John (who posts on this very website) is a great source of camping knowledge and his description of his little canoeing nook up on the MN border makes me want to see it. Sleeping John is a great guy too. Every 10 years he does "something crazy". At 30 he biked across the US. At 40 he ran some ridiculous distance. At 50 he swam some ridiculous distance. And now at 60 he planned to hike from Maine to Maryland. (Unfortunately his knees had other plans.)
Tinman, Toto, Monkey, Gantz, Ranger Rick, Rogue Rooster, Juice and Hatch, E, Trail Dog, JByrd, Thicket, and so many other people out here make this a wonderful little community. Every person you meet is instantly an old friend.
One last thing - They call me Frogger out here. Book says it's because I leap and hop from log to log, rock to rock, staying just above the much and water. One of these days I may fall in but hey, I think I start out with like, 3 guys or something. Plus I'll be earning extra guys every 10,000 points.